To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
2 CORINTHIANS 12:7
As Christians, we know that God gives blessings but also permits burdens. These burdens have a good purpose and are not meant to break our backs or bend our knees-except in prayer.
In today's verse, Paul says God gave him "a thorn in my flesh." We know this thorn wasn't the little sliver you get when you garden or cut wood. The word used refers to a sharp stake of the type used to torture or impale and implies that Paul had a type of severe or nagging physical affliction.
Some commentators speculate that Paul had epilepsy, migraines, or malaria. Most scholars believe this thorn was eye disease and that Paul suffered from partial blindness. Perhaps after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, his eyes were never the same. Maybe the stoning he suffered at Lystra caused lasting damage.
Let's examine the wording for this verse carefully where it says, "a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan." The tense in the original language indicates that although it was a "messenger from Satan," it actually came from the Lord. Just as he did in Job's life, God permitted one of Satan's messengers to "torment" Paul in some way. Both God and Satan were at work with different purposes. Satan wanted to destroy Paul's faith, and God wanted to use this difficulty to build Paul's faith and keep him humble.
We may not understand God's purposes, but we do know the Lord is in control and permits some things for his glory and our good. The mixture can be compared to chemistry, in which the right combination of harmful chemicals produces beneficial results. If you combine two poisons, sodium and chlorine, in the right amounts, they produce table salt.
Rejoice in the beneficial mixture of God's blessings and burdens in your life.
In His strong love,